My attendance at the Global Youth Conference
I had the opportunity to attend the Global Youth Conference organized by the Earth Focus Foundation in Geneva (Switzerland) on 17 and 18 October 2011. As we were only a small but quite international group of participants, the conference offered a great chance for me to learn about what other young people do as and to learn from the speakers. And of course it was possible to debate with almost every single speaker and ask them lots of questions.
The list of speakers was very diverse, from scientists and members of non-governmental organizations to people working for the United Nations. For me, it was very interesting to get an insight to many different climate change related topics. For example, a scientist told us that 1.5 or 2°C rise of temperature is just a global average, some countries will experience a much bigger temperature difference and those numbers are usually the average of all different calculations and models. Nobody really knows, what will happen… He also highlighted the danger of reaching a tipping point, a point in climate change, where there is no way back and changes can’t be stopped or reversed anymore. A spark of hope was, that in some (even if quite small) areas, international cooperation is on a good path regarding regulations on harmful substances.
Other discussion topics included forest certifications, business engagement in environment, alternative energy sources and local engagement. At the end, the group created a youth statement, which was sent to different international bodies and presented at another conference. Important points inlcuded the demand for awareness raising and education for youth to empower and encourage them to take action on environmental issues as well as the need for binding targets for CO2 reduction and the use of renewable energy sources.
At the end we went to the botanical garden and had a guided tour on biodiversity. For me it was very important to get an overview about so different topics and stakeholder groups related to climate change and I hope to be able to use some of the new-gained knowledge at Durban.
Nicole, WAGGGS representative at COP 17 from Switzerland